South-South Partnership for COVID-19 Responses

December 24, 2020

South-South Partnership for COVID-19 Responses: UNOSSC Cities Project and UNDP Nepal Facilitate International Center on Small Hydropower’s Donation of Surgical Masks to Nepalese Cities and Partner

24 December 2020, New York – Last week, a donation of 210,000 disposable medical masks from the International Center on Small Hydro Power (IC-SHP) reached the two Nepalese cities and partners which requested the support. The donations were mobilized by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), under the South-South and Triangular Cooperation among Maritime-Continental Silk Road Cities Project (Cities Project). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nepal participated the handover ceremonies on behalf of the donors. UNDP in China supported the procurement and logistics of these masks. The masks are being distributed by the two municipal governments to local health workers, volunteers, and the most vulnerable populations.

UNDP Nepal facilitating the hand-over ceremony of ICSHP-donated masks in Khajura. Source: UNDP Nepal

UNDP Nepal participating in the handover ceremony in Khajura on behalf of donors. Source: UNDP Nepal

The COVID-19 pandemic is a massive challenge for cities and local administrations in the front lines, rich and poor alike. Cities are currently being tested to the extreme by this crisis, which lays bare how well cities are planned, managed, and coordinated. On the other hand, cities play a key role to implement nation-wide measures and provide laboratories for bottom-up and innovative recovery strategies. The COVID-19 shock, therefore, calls for stronger partnerships among cities, as well as partnerships among cities and partners and stakeholders at all levels.

In response to a survey on COVID-19-related needs circulated among partners of the Cities Project in April 2020, Khajura Rural Municipality and Bardaghat Municipality of Nepal expressed demands for support in personal protective equipment (PPE), especially surgical masks.

In the spirit of South-South solidarity and to facilitate mutual support among cities and partners, the Cities Project team distributed the demands among its partners networks. The IC-SHP, a cost-sharing partner, pledged a donation of 210,000 masks. According to the two cities’ distribution plans, masks will be received by healthcare workers and volunteers as well as vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and children. The support was also extended to partner institution Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), which hosts the China-Nepal Joint Research Centre on Small Hydropower Project.

UNDP Nepal shared that they were delighted to participate in the two handover ceremonies and commended that this collaboration could contribute to UNDP’s overall COVID-19 response offering.

UNDP Nepal facilitating the hand-over ceremony of ICSHP-donated masks in Bardaghat. Source: UNDP Nepal

ICSHP-donated masks arrive at Bardaghat. Source: UNDP Nepal

Mr. Kismat Kakshapati, Mayor of Khajura Rural Municipality, expressed gratitude to UNOSSC Cities Project and the IC-SHP for the donation. “We also promise that these masks will be provided to all low-income residents, school, health sector of the Khajura Rural Municipality,” reaffirmed Mr. Kakshapati, regarding the distribution of the masks.

Khajura and Bardaghat are both city partners of the Cities Project since 2018. In 2019, the Cities Project had a demand-driven needs assessment on sustainable agriculture in Khajura, which led the way to a South-South exchange workshop on agriculture value chain development in Yuxi City, China, with the participation of both Khajura and Bardaghat. UNDP Nepal facilitated both the needs assessment and workshop with technical advice and operational assistance.

As of December, the Cities Project team has mobilized donations and facilitated the deployment of over 1 Million masks, benefiting people from 18 developing countries in the Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Europe and CIS regions.